Manchester, NJ Police working to curb rising amount of car accidents
There is a lot of local, county, and state road across 85-square miles within Manchester Township and with 45,000 residents living in the community.
Along these roads there has been a rise in the amount of car crashes.
A car accident could happen for any number of reasons just outside of any type of impaired driving including single vehicle crashes and some that involve hitting the gas instead of the brake and fully accelerating.
"We have our fair share of those, that's for certain, but whenever you have an accident, you look at three things: is the roadway engineered properly, are you educating the drivers properly or is it driver inattention," Manchester Police Chief Robert Dolan said on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' on 94.3 The Point Sunday morning. "Most of the time, we go through all those steps when we look at high accidents in the areas. We look at the engineering and make sure that the area is configured properly and ask our partners at the county road department and our state road department to help us with that because we have a lot of state roads."
Manchester Police take a deep look into what happens during the course of an investigation into an accident and while in some cases the engineering/road configuration as it stands may be a factor, it's not the most common one.
"Most of our accidents, and most accidents that I think occur everywhere, are driver inattention that is actually a fault of the driver and it's not necessarily distracted driving, it's just the fault of the driver, it's not the fault of the roadway, it's not the fault of anything else," Dolan said.
There's a myriad of contributing factors to a motor vehicle collision from deer and other animals darting across the road to just not paying attention, and drivers have to try and do everything they can prevent those from coming into play.
"More important than anything, they need to be aware of their own actions and aware of themselves," Dolan said. "It's very easy to get lost in things or get lost in your own conversation inside your head, but, once you recognize that you're doing that, you have to actually come out of it and say, 'I need to pay attention here'."
There has been a rising number of accidents and traffic stops related to impaired driving in Manchester Township.
"I know from checking our stats that our DWI arrests are up over 10-percent this year (2022) so there's quite a jump for us, our fatal accidents are up, our regular accidents are up as well," Dolan said. "I think if you look at and you ask other departments, they'll tell you the same thing."
For years just about anywhere, there has been an issue with drinking and driving but collective impaired driving which includes driving while high/under the influence of drugs like marijuana has complicated matters.
"The legalization of marijuana has caused some challenges," Dolan said. "There was just a recent Supreme Court case in New Jersey, a Special Master was put in place, and they evaluated the drug recognition expert program -- which helps you evaluate people who are under the influence of drugs. Now, marijuana may be legal in the state now, but it's still illegal to drive while impaired under marijuana just as alcohol is legal but you cannot drive while impaired with alcohol."
You can listen to the full conversation that we had with Manchester Police Chief Robert Dolan on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave', right here.
Conversation Part One:
Conversation Part Two: